Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Basics: Function Keys.

Back in DOS days, the function keys were essential; now that we're using windows, they are an afterthought.  But they still can be useful; if you're typing something, it's usually faster to use them than to find the mouse and move it where it you want it.

Here is a brief listing of some useful function keys in Office:

To do this Press
Get Help or visit Microsoft Office Online. F1
Repeat the last action. This is especially useful in Excel; I use it to delete non-contiguous columns multiple times. F4
Choose the Go To command to let your find and replace. F5
Go to the next pane or frame. F6
Choose the Spelling and begin a spell check. F7
Extend a selection. If you've selected a character, this will select a word.  Pressing it again will select the paragraph. F8
Show KeyTips. You can then press the indicated key to activate items on the ribbon. F10
Choose the Save As command F12

One of my favorite and most useful features of MS Word has been something that's been unchanged as part of the program since DOS days, but which is poorly documented: The Case Toggle.  It switches characters from upper case to lower case and vice versa.  It also capitalizes words.  So if you have your caps lock on and end up typing a whole sentence, you don't have to retype it all.

To change the case, highlight the text and then hold down the Shift key and press the F3 key.  The text will change case, changing UPPER CASE to lower case; lower case to Capitalizing Each Word; and Capitalized Words to UPPER CASE.